Junior county cricket is set to receive a shake up after it was confirmed that Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire will be merging sides for representative training and matches.

They will essentially represent Cricket Wales West.

All age group squads will now consist of a mixed A and a B (development) side, a model that was adopted in north Wales last year and will now be applied to all regional sides in Wales with Cardiff for example, set to join with Gwent to form a Cricket Wales East team.

Strong rumours of these proposals being implemented have been circulating for considerable time, and this afternoon Cricket Wales clarified matters be sending out documents outlining the new plans.

“The new regional cricket structure that will commence from January 2021, to come into effect for the 2021/22 season,” said Matt Thomson, Head of Talent Pathway.

“It has been the culmination of extensive consultation, discussion and collaboration with all existing regional organisations across Wales, to ensure that the future direction of junior representative cricket is an exciting one.

“We are confident these changes will give every young cricketer the very best opportunity to reach their potential.”

Thomson added the structure was originally scheduled for a November 2020 start date, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic there are various aspects of the programme that were not feasible until next year.

Following the news, Telegraph Sport contacted the Pembrokeshire Junior Regional Cricket Association (PJRC), who in a released statement said the developments should bring about some positive changes: “PJRC are looking forward to the new Cricket Wales West Region which starts this winter.

“We feel these are positive changes which will benefit young cricketers in Pembrokeshire with greater opportunities to develop and progress at every ability – and coinciding with the opening of the new indoor cricket facility at Neyland these should be exciting times for everyone involved.

“We would urge parents to sign up to the Cricket Wales Roadshow Zoom with Matt Thompson in September to be able to be able ask questions on the new structure.”

Opportunity knocks – or chances condensed?

Despite the benefits, the announcement is likely to be met with mixed emotions. Whilst it essentially provides a platform for elite junior players in Pembrokeshire to perform in a stronger line-up, players and parents will also fear a streamlining of opportunities.

Inevitably, many promising youngsters will now be denied the chance to represent their county at the top level, and already concerns have been voiced that those reluctant to be split from their regular teammates will drift away from regional cricket.

The scheduled Zoom meeting in September will give the chance for consultation and for any issues to be raised – but undoubtedly, the new structure does represent a big overhaul for junior regional cricket moving forward.